What's the Latest Development?
Over the past decade, six of the world's 10 fastest-growing countries were African. And in eight of the past 10 years, the African lions grew faster than the Asian tigers. Fuelled by technology, a new financial assertiveness and cultural self-confidence is rising in Africa, which has a young, fast-expanding, fast-urbanising population. Governance is improving, elections spreading and dictatorships and wars declining.
What's the Big Idea?
It is a trend marked by changing lifestyles, greater spending power, more recreational time, and the harnessing of technology. Many countries have benefited from a commodities boom and a 10-fold rise in foreign investment in the past decade, notably from China. The African middle classes are more likely to have smaller families, own their homes and have salaried jobs or small businesses. Some are turning into conspicuous consumers, running up credit card debts like their western counterparts.